Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tooth fracture risk analysis based on a new finite element dental structure models using micro-CT data

Computers in Biology and Medicine
Volume 42, Issue 10 , Pages 957-963, October 2012


The finite element (FE) analysis is an effective method to study the strength and predict the fracture risk of endodontically-treated teeth. This paper presents a rapid method developed to generate a comprehensive tooth FE model using data retrieved from micro-computed tomography (╬╝CT). With this method, the inhomogeneity of material properties of teeth was included into the model without dividing the tooth model into different regions. The material properties of the tooth were assumed to be related to the mineral density. The fracture risk at different tooth portions was assessed for root canal treatments. The micro-CT images of a tooth were processed by a Matlab software programme and the CT numbers were retrieved. The tooth contours were obtained with thresholding segmentation using Amira. The inner and outer surfaces of the tooth were imported into Solidworks and a three-dimensional (3D) tooth model was constructed. An assembly of the tooth model with the periodontal ligament (PDL) layer and surrounding bone was imported into ABAQUS. The material properties of the tooth were calculated from the retrieved CT numbers via ABAQUS user's subroutines. Three root canal geometries (original and two enlargements) were investigated. The proposed method in this study can generate detailed 3D finite element models of a tooth with different root canal enlargements and filling materials, and would be very useful for the assessment of the fracture risk at different tooth portions after root canal treatments.

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